Cold sores are fluid filled sores or blisters that develop on your face, around your mouth, lips or nose. If you have never had cold sores then you are lucky but you should be mindful of not getting infected as it is quite painful and easy to contract.
Caused by the virus herpes simplex cold sores can last from a few days up to a couple of weeks and also recur. You have to be careful as the virus does not leave your body and lies in dormant state under your skin. Although there are two types of the virus, type 1 and type 2, blisters caused on the body are normally due to type 1.
How does it infect you?
One of the primary reasons of contracting cold sores is coming in contact with a person who is infected. There are a few other triggers that can reactivate the dormant virus; these might include fever, infections, emotional stress, hormonal changes, cosmetic surgery, exposure to extreme sun or wind and physical stress.
There are a few symptoms that you should look out for in order to get timely diagnosis and treatment.
1) One of the biggest symptoms of cold sores is itching, which starts a few days before the sores actually appear. If you feel your skin is itchy or you are witnessing any rashes that were not there before its best to get it shown to a doctor.
2) Fever can be one of the symptoms if you have contracted cold sores. You may tend to ignore thinking it’s just the weather but it’s better to get it checked. With cold sores you cannot take the risk of ignoring it.
3) A sore mouth or throat is also a symptom of cold sores. If you are having trouble drinking or swallowing food you may want to see a doctor as soon as possible.
4) Formation of small blisters is a staunch indicator of cold sores. Be sure to get it checked before it worsens.
There are a few things that you should follow in order to protect yourself. Easy enough and simple to follow, always keep these points in mind.
1) Medicines like Famvir, Valtrex, Zovirax and Aciclovir are effective against cold sores. They contain and cure cold sores; ask your doctors for more information on the contents and dosage breakdown.
2) If you notice a sore on your face but are not sure about it, apply ice immediately on the sore to reduce the swelling. Consult with your doctor immediately after that.
3) If you have been a victim of cold sores in the past it is best to protect your face and lips by applying cream and lip balm. Be careful while stepping out in the sun; make sure your skin is not directly exposed and you are wearing sun block.
4) If you have cold sores, refrain from touching it as the infection may spread to other areas as well. The fluid from the blisters may get transferred to other parts and infect them as well.
5) Refrain from any dental appointments if you have cold sores for it may aggravate the sores causing more pain and problems.
6) Always pay attention that your personal items like toothbrush, lotions, water bottles etc do not get in contact with infected people or people who have rashes, blisters or eczema.
Be alert and keep your eyes open for any symptoms and visit your doctor at the earliest. It is very important to consult with your doctor as you might have seen some of these symptoms are very generic and may appear even if you are feeling a little under the weather. Do not ignore these small symptoms and practise caution!